MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Personal Notebook
DIMENSIONS: 7 X 11 inches (closed)
COMPONENTS: 42 pages describing America and other foreign lands
NOTES: A rare item.
LANGUAGE
Language: Japanese
ITEM ID: 1082
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Journal of a Shipwrecked Castaway

DATE
Year: 1853
Decade: 1850s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)

A manuscript of a shipwrecked Japanese castaway that was rescued and taken to America. One interesting section has examples of the English alphabet, noting that there are 26 symbols. The letters are written in a cursive style and are hard to distinguish, but can be identified easily by the katakana syllable written below each letter. This is an early attempt by a Japanese sailor to learn English. The date at the end of the journal is 1853. This coincides with the time that Commodore Perry was trying to open Japan, one of the main issues being the fate of shipwrecked Japanese sailors. In fact, Perry had several shipwrecked Japanese sailors on his voyage to Japan.